SESTRI LEVANTE, Italy (AP) Michael Matthews sprinted to victory Monday in the third stage of the Giro d’Italia to remain in the overall lead, and then dedicated his win to the injured Domenico Pozzovivo.
Pozzovivo crashed on a descent within 40 kilometers (25 miles) of the finish. The Italian fell hard and stayed on the ground for several minutes. He received medical attention and was moving and breathing unaided as he was taken to the hospital by an ambulance.
”Domenico suffers from a cranial-facial trauma but the scanner reveals no intra-cranial lesion,” AG2R team physician Eric Bouvat said. ”He has deep wounds above his right eye and received stitches. He is conscious and lucid but has no memory of the crash.”
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The crash brought back memories of Belgian cyclist Wouter Weylandt, who died after crashing on a descent on the third stage of the Giro in 2011. Weylandt’s parents were at the start of Monday’s stage, two days after the fourth anniversary of his death.
Pozzovivo, who was regarded as an outside contender for the overall title, had lost time on the race leaders after being caught up in one of several crashes on Sunday.
”I’d like to devote my win to my team and Pozzovivo,” Matthews said. ”I’m really relieved to hear he’s OK.”
Matthews crossed the line half a length ahead of Fabio Felline and Philippe Gilbert on the short but hilly 136-kilometer (84.5-mile) route from Rapallo to Sestri Levante.
”It’s been a dream come true so far in this Giro d’Italia,” Matthews said. ”We planned for a team time trial win and this was another big goal for us and we pulled it off.”
Matthews, part of the Orica Green-Edge team that won Saturday’s opening team time trial, moved six seconds ahead of Simon Clarke and 10 ahead of Simon Gerrans. The three Australians are all teammates.
Tuesday’s fourth stage is another undulating route, featuring three categorized climbs along the 150-kilometer (93-mile) route from Chiavari to La Spezia.